Thursday, December 30, 2010

So Which Parts of the Constitution Do Republicans and the Tea Party Support

Next week, the new Republican-led, Tea Party infested House of Representatives plans to read the Constitution. This is probably a good idea. I suspect that many members (of both parties) may be surprised when they learn what is and isn’t in that document.

Over the last two years, we’ve heard quite a bit about “restoring” the Constitution or how President Obama is somehow “shredding” the Constitution. As it should be, the Constitution is an important document to the Tea Party. However, I have to wonder just how much of the Constitution the tea party really likes, let alone understands. So, I thought I’d read through the Constitution (I actually started this post way back on Constitution Day) and think about what I read with the Tea Party in mind.

Let’s start with the Preamble (always a good place to start, and I can’t help but sing this part thanks to Schoolhouse Rock):

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Several things jump out at me. First, I note the concept of forming a “perfect Union”. I won’t even take the time to make the cheap joke about unions obviously being a good thing (oops, I guess I just did). But I do wonder how those who threaten secession if they don’t get their way, square that position with the Preamble. I also note the desire to “insure domestic Tranquility”. Again, how does that square with people saying “We came unarmed this time” or talking about “exercising Second Amendment rights”? Those sorts of threats of violence don’t exactly seem to be in line with the broad concept of domestic tranquility.

Most important, of course, is the phrase “promote the general Welfare”. Sure we can argue about what exactly that means, but I think that we can probably all agree that the idea is for everyone to do well, not just the richest among us, and that it is the responsibility for We the People, through the government that was created in the Constitution, to help those least able to help themselves.

Oh, and one more thing: Did you find any reference to G-d or Jesus or a declaration that America is a Christian nation in the Preamble? No? Me neither. Hmm.

Another thing that we often hear from tea partiers and other strict constructionists is that the Constitution was a “perfect” document when adopted and that it doesn’t evolve or need to evolve (except when they want to amend it…). Yet one has to ask, if that’s true, why have amendments been necessary. Moreover, how can anyone rationally claim that the original Constitution was perfect when it included provisions like this clause from Article I Section 2 (since modified by the 14th Amendment):

which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

In other words, Indians didn’t count as Persons (unless they were taxed) and slaves counted as three-fifths of a Person.

Next I noticed something that I’d never thought about in prior readings of the Constitution. Article 8 enumerates the powers of Congress (and I could probably say a lot more about some of those other powers) including:

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Just out of curiosity: Does Congress have the power to raise, support, provide, or maintain an air force or space agency? Remember, to strict constructionists, the Constitution is not a “living” document that evolves with time; rather it is immutable, except by amendment. So if the Constitution specifically mentions the army and navy (and “land and naval Forces”) and not the broader term “military” (or “air Forces”) then doesn’t that call into question the right of Congress to create an air force or space agency? I’m sure that some could argue that the Founders didn’t anticipate flight or space travel; then again, I doubt that they anticipated the telegraph, telephone, television, satellite radio, eBooks, or the Internet, either. I don’t think they really anticipated modern pharmaceuticals, nuclear weapons, or guns that fire dozens of armor-piercing bullets in just seconds. And they probably didn’t anticipate lethal injection or the ability to travel across the entire country within a span of hours. And I certainly doubt that they anticipated Hari Krishnas or Scientologists.

I also note the following power of Congress:

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

So does that mean that Congress has the power to call the Militia to suppress tea partiers who make threats of violence against the country? Now that would be interesting.

Article I Section 9 also provides that “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed”. This provision might be of interest to those in Congress who, on the basis of bad information in the first place, felt the need to defund ACORN specifically.

Article II Section 1 recites the oath to be taken by the President. Read it carefully and see if you note anything missing:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Did you catch it? Look again and see if you can see where the Constitution requires the President to say “So help me God.” Hmm. Given that we’re a supposed to be a Christian nation and all, doesn’t it surprise you that the reference to God isn’t there?

Article IV Section 1 also has an interesting little clause of interest to those who oppose gay marriage:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

Query then, on the basis of the full faith and credit clause, how one state can choose which marriages recognized in another state will or will not be recognized? Similarly, Article IV Section 2 provides:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

So if a citizen of Iowa or Massachusetts is entitled to the privilege of marriage, how is that impacted when that citizen moves to Alabama or Texas?

Those tea partiers who support laws that would allow states to nullify laws passed by Congress or opt out of certain federal laws (like healthcare reform) should recall this provision of Article VI:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

And for those who oppose the presence of Muslims in Congress or those tea partiers presently trying to oust the the Speaker of the House in Texas because he’s Jewish and not a conservative Christian, this provision from Article VI might be worth reading:

no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States

I can’t believe I need to recite the next provision, but Christine O’Donnell’s query during one of the Senate debates in October demonstrates that many people still don’t know what the First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And though the conservative activist judges on the Supreme Court disagree, it still seems to me that the Second Amendment does not grant a virtually unfettered right to bear arms:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Apparently, the entire first part of the Second Amendment is meaningless (or at least it is to those activist judges). Then again, those same activist judges seem to think that the unfettered influx of corporate money (including anonymous and even foreign money) into our political process is just fine, so go figure.

For those tea partiers who believe that warrantless wiretaps are acceptable, I’d remind them of the provisions of the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated …

Those who oppose birthright citizenship should re-read the first paragraph of the Fourteenth Amendment and think about why that provision was added in the first place. So too should supporters of Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation, especially with regard to how it may impact US citizens. And so too should those who oppose gay marriage:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

It is also worth recalling that our “perfect” Constitution – the one that allowed slavery – didn’t give women the right to vote until ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920!

Well, those are just some highlights. I obviously have not taken the time to go into the thorny details of some of the more complex provisions of the Constitution; law school professors and federal judges have filled thousands of volumes giving detailed analysis, explanation, and historical context.

But in light of some of the rhetoric (in particular the violent, eliminationist rhetoric, the state’s rights rhetoric, and the racist rhetoric) that we’ve heard from the Tea Party, perhaps reading the Constitution isn’t such a bad idea.

And just for the heck of it, why not go read it yourself? You might also want to read the Constitution of your state. You might be surprised at what you find (or don’t find).

Happy New Year!


Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Open Letter to MSNBC


You are my preferred television news network. Those who describe you as the liberal counterpart to Fox News are either being disingenuous or they’ve never actually watched and compared the programming on the two networks. Yes, some of your hosts have and express liberal viewpoints, but other hosts have and express conservative points of view, as well. Even the most liberal of your hosts routinely give those with whom they disagree an opportunity to make their point without being interrupted or ridiculed and you don’t limit opposing viewpoints to a few neutered conservatives. Your programming is not perfect and your hosts do occasionally make mistakes, but they don’t simply make things up or repeat, without critical analysis, talking points designed to bolster one side or tear apart the other.

But your network could be much better.

First, stop being defensive about who and what you are. Be proud of being a home for liberal viewpoints. And be proud of being a home where conservative viewpoints are also given a forum. Stand up and shout to the rafters that you are a network with a point of view but one which is welcoming to dissenting visions. But be sure that those hosts on your network who express conservative views remember to commend the network for giving them a forum and to contrast that with the singular world view pushed by Fox News.

Next, be sure to always take the high road. Look, I agree that Bill O’Reilly is a clown (in the Stephen King scary clown mold), but there is no reason to call him such. And Rush Limbaugh may in fact be a drug addict, but there’s no reason for that to become his title. Instead, treat all of these people with the respect and dignity that you’d like to be extended to you and that we should all expect in a functioning civil society. By all means, criticize O’Reilly and Beck and Limbaugh and Hannity all you want, but call them Mr. O’Reilly, Mr. Beck, Mr. Limbaugh, and Mr. Hannity. Who cares if they act like prepubescent school yard bullies; there’s no reason for MSBNC and its hosts to sink to that level. Let their name calling roll off your backs the way you’d tell your children to ignore the taunts of a bully. Sticks and stones and all that. Instead, recommend to your hosts that they always be the adult in the room. Keep the criticism to the content of the communication, rather than focusing on the history of the speaker. Leave the ad hominem attacks to the other guys; that’s all they’ve got going for them.

On a similar note, why not have a dedicated webpage where errors can be reported? Every journalist makes an error from time to time. A sign of a quality journalist is one who can recognize an error, take responsibility, and correct it. So be up front with any errors that you make. Show the world that you do take facts seriously and that you work to be sure that what you present is accurate and that when a mistake is made, you recognize it and alert your viewers.

Newspapers have long included letters to the editor from readers. NPR airs listener feedback on a weekly basis. MSNBC should consider doing something similar. Don’t bother with a forum where people can argue back and forth. Instead, offer a place where viewers can express their thoughts and concerns about what they’ve seen on your network, take those expressions seriously, and, from time to time, present those thoughts within your programs. Maybe even take the time to have the occasional program to fact check things that you’ve said and which others have called into question.

One more thing that could, I believe, set MSNBC further apart and prove of enormous benefit to viewers: Be prepared to deal with guests who lie. If possible, your hosts should be armed with facts and statistics so that a guest who lies can be called out. But I recognize that this isn’t always possible. However, your viewership and the Internet may prove an invaluable resource to help identify lies. Just imagine if MSNBC had a policy in which no lie went unchallenged. And if the host was not able to recognize the lie at the time of its utterance, make it a policy to invite the guest back at a later date to address the issue; if the guest elects not to return, that’s fine, but the host should still go forward with the identification of the lie and the dissemination of the correct facts.

Unfortunately, in recent years, more and more people in our society have begun to recognize that there is no real penalty for telling a lie or half-truth and, especially in politics, facts just don’t matter. Perhaps MSNBC could be a bulwark against the further erosion of fact-based analysis and understanding that should be the basis upon which democratic decisions are based. Guests may be less inclined to dissemble if they know that your network will fact check the claims and present evidence when the claims don’t ring true.

Fox News has become the place to go for disinformation. Perhaps MSNBC can become the place to go for information that can be trusted or even, dare I say it, journalism.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Little Bit of Good Left the World Yesterday

Dr. Mark Pescovitz died Sunday in an accident on I-94 in Michigan. He was returning from a visit with his wife, Ora Pescovitz, the former president and chief executive officer of Riley Hospital for Children.We all like to think that we’re good people. And most of us are, at least within our own universe of friends and acquaintances and business contacts. But how many of us are really good people in the sense that we can honestly say that we’ve given of ourselves in a way that truly makes the world a better place? Many of us volunteer some time or donate some money, but how many of us have really made that a central part of their lives, even going and giving beyond our own community in order to help people?

Indianapolis lost one of those good people yesterday, when Dr. Mark Pescovitz was killed in a car crash.

Mark was an organ transplant surgeon. He was also very active in the Indianapolis Jewish community (he served on the Executive Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council and was a vice president during my term as president). But I’m sure that you’ll read all about Mark in The Indianapolis Star or other written tributes (please take a moment and read the tribute by Mark’s younger brother).

In all honesty, I didn’t really know Mark that well. I know that I liked to tease him when he’d miss a JCRC meeting (“Sorry, but flying off to Lebanon or Iraq to perform a transplant or teach other doctors how to do so just isn’t as important as whatever ‘big issue’ that we had to discuss,” I’d tell him). I know that he was named a village elder by a tribe in Kenya for helping them learn about AIDS. I know that, no matter what the subject, whenever Mark had something to say, it was worth listening to. And I know, from a lengthy discussion in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, that he really, really loved his family.

But beyond that, one of the most important things that I learned about Mark was something that he wouldn’t say about himself: Mark was a good person; he was one of those people who worked hard to try to make the world — not just the world of his family or friends or even the broader Jewish or Indianapolis communities — but the entire world, a better place. And I think, in that, he succeeded in ways that most of us can barely comprehend.

I offer condolences to his family and to those who were close to him. But all of us should recognize that we — Jews, Hoosiers, humans — have lost a special person.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 10, 2010

Opposition to the DREAM Act Is a Racist “F-You” to the American Dream

One of the bills before Congress is called the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act). Without going through every detail of the DREAM Act in detail, the basic concept of the bill is to give people who came to the United States illegally as minors a chance to gain a right to permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. The DREAM Act doesn’t simply say, “Gee, if you came here illegally as a kid, you get amnesty.” Nope. The DREAM Act requires the person to have arrived in the US as a minor, to have lived in the US for at least 5 consecutive years, to have graduated from high school (or obtained a GED), to be of “good moral character” (i.e., if you have a criminal record, you’re not eligible), and to either attend college (for at least two years) or serve in the US military. And once the person is granted permanent residency (which they can still lose like any other legal immigrant), they would have only limited rights to sponsor immediate family members to become legal residents.

But many on the right continue to oppose the DREAM Act calling it an “amnesty” (not to mention lying about what it would do, such as suggesting that it would automatically grant citizenship, would automatically grant citizenship to the person’s extended family, or that the person would automatically receive college scholarships).

Consider this: When these children entered the United States they were … children. Yes, their parents broke the law. But ask yourself two questions. First, do we want to punish children for the crimes of the parents? And, perhaps more importantly, do we want to say that the American Dream was a legitimate dream for our grandparents but not for these children? Remember that these kids have been raised in America; for many, ours is the only country that they know and English is their first language. Yet some would send them “home”, on the basis of a “crime” committed by their parents who in many cases sought nothing more than a chance for their children to have a better life. And yet some want to punish that. Try to imagine having spent your entire life in the United States other than, perhaps, your toddler years, and then being told that you have to return to El Salvador or Guatemala or Belize, despite having no contact with that country and perhaps not even speaking the language as your first language.

To me, opposition to the DREAM Act is thinly disguised racism. It’s not about law and order and it’s not about money; it’s about keeping a bunch of largely Hispanic kids from having a chance. Maybe it is a form of amnesty for these kids, but what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with rewarding kids who have worked hard to graduate high school, have managed to stay out of trouble with the law, have decided to go to college or serve in the military, and have a “good moral character”? Shouldn’t we be rewarding those kids? And if they weren’t here illegally, but wanted to come to the United States, aren’t they the kids that we’d want to be here? So why the opposition to the DREAM Act? Why the opposition to giving kids who deserve it a chance to become valuable contributors to our country? Might it have anything to do with the fact that many of them don’t have white skin? Might it have anything to do with the fact that Caucasians will soon no longer be the majority? Might it be just another manifestation of the racism that has led so many to view President Obama as illegitimate?

Like I said: Opposition to the DREAM Act is thinly disguised racism. It’s a great big “fuck you” from those who have been allowed to live the American Dream to children who want to live the American Dream. And its wrong.

Call your Senators and Representative and tell them to support the DREAM Act.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wikileaks? I’m Not Sure

I still can’t quite decide what I think of the whole Wikileaks document dump. On one hand, something about it simply seems wrong. On the other hand, I do wonder if governments (not just ours) keep too many things secret and whether disclosure enables citizens to better understand and monitor what their country is doing. So think of this post as a sort of thought exercise that I ran through with myself; as I started writing, I had no real destination or final conclusion in mind other than to try to tease out some of the issues.

First, I note that many people have compared the disclosures by Wikileaks to the Pentagon Papers disclosures by Daniel Ellsberg. But I don’t think that analogy is applicable. The disclosure of the Pentagon Papers showed that the government had been systematically lying about what was happening in Vietnam, including (if I remember my history correctly), the actual events in the Gulf of Tonkin that led to the dramatic increase in US involvement in Vietnam. Thus, to be comparable, the Wikileaks documents would, for example, need to have been about the lies told by the Bush administration in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. And while that sort of disclosure might anger us, it might also be critical to our understanding of the war and its aftermath and costs.

I’m not sure that I’m willing to accept the notion offered by some that citizens have a right to know everything that their country is doing, either. Let’s look at that from a slightly different perspective. If you’re a shareholder in Apple, do you have a right to know every new product that the company is researching or even readying for sale? Does your answer change if you’re told that disclosure of what the company is working on will put it at a competitive disadvantage with other companies? Similarly, do you have the right to know what a doctor tells another patient or what a lawyer tells another client?

In other words, I think that most of us would agree that there are some secrets that are OK, and there are lots of things that I think a government probably should keep secret. Certainly, a government should not disclose military battle plans (and probably not contingency plans, either) or ongoing intelligence operations. A government should not disclose information that could directly lead to the death of a citizen (but what about the deaths of non-citizens?). We don’t need to know about cutting-edge research in military technology. And a government should probably be able to keep secret things that will put that country or its citizens at a competitive disadvantage with other countries or harm that country’s ability to work in the international community. When two diplomats talk about the best approach to a particular negotiation or what the various results of possible actions might be, shouldn’t that be kept secret, if not from us, then from those on the other side?

Ask yourself whether and how the ability of a diplomat to represent and advance the interests of our country is hindered if those with whom the diplomat is speaking decide to guard their words out of fear that what they might candidly say could be publicly revealed. Consider that situation with regard to a country with whom we are not friendly or with a country that has a fragile government that we are seeking to help change or stabilize. Sometimes what is said in a negotiation needs to remain secret.  Think, for a moment, about buying a car. If the car salesman was privy to the discussion that you and your spouse had on the way to the dealer in which you decided how much you could afford to pay, then how might that impact the negotiations? Or consider whether you want your lawyer to be able to provide you the right advice rather than the advice that might be best for public consumption just in case the discussion were to be leaked.

One other thing to keep in mind, is who should decide what information should remain secret and which information should be disclosed? It is probably too easy for a government to simply err on the side of secrecy; keeping the secret doesn’t harm anyone, but disclosing it might. The obvious distrust that many have in government may come from governments keeping too many secrets (or it may come from any of a number of other things, like torturing civilians, waging wars, denying rights, etc.). But as much as we may distrust governments to make a proper balancing determination with regard to what should or should not be kept secret, do we really think that the decision should be left to one or a few individuals who may have their own personal agendas (I’m pissed because I didn’t get promoted; my boss didn’t adopt my idea; I don’t like Secretary of State Clinton…) or, worse yet, to a foreigner? Would you feel any differently if Julian Assange was an American instead of an Australian?* I understand that Wikileaks purports to review the documents before deciding what to release, but I must admit that I’m troubled at that decision being made by a foreigner (not to mention the foreigner having access to the documents in the first place).

Yet with all that being said, query the extent to which any of the disclosures have actually harmed American interests. Sure our diplomats may have said unkind things about their counterparts. Do you think for a moment that the fact that diplomats say candid things to their superiors comes as a surprise? More importantly, do you think that the content of those candid descriptions comes as a surprise in many cases? And do you think that the diplomats for other countries aren’t making equally derogatory statements about our own diplomats? Do you think that diplomats for other countries aren’t trying to acquire information about our diplomats? Please. To get worked up over that kind of disclosure seems to be much ado about nothing.

Moreover, given certain aspects of our own history, it seems like we don’t do a good job of watching over our government to be sure that only things that really need to be secret are classified as such and that our government doesn’t lie to us. We were lied to about Vietnam; we were lied to about Watergate; we were lied to about Iran-Contra; and we were lied to about WMDs in Iraq. How different would the last forty-five years have been without those lies? And what might our government still be lying about? We should be able to trust that our government doesn’t keep secrets that aren’t necessary and that our government doesn’t lie to us about matters that should be the subject of political discussion and debate. When we’re lied to, we can’t make good, informed decisions. So it may be that disclosures, like Wikileaks, however distasteful they may be, are essential to keep our government on the proverbial “straight and narrow” path.

So I guess, if I had to sum up my feelings about Wikileaks, I’d say that I’m against the disclosures to the extent that they could actually harm American interests, but that the releases point out the need that we, as citizens in a democracy, have to be ever-vigilant watchdogs on what our government says (or doesn’t say) and does. But at the end of the day, I’d prefer that the determination of what is or is not a secret and what should or should not be disclosed be made by a body of informed Americans, acting in the best interests of America and Americans, and not by random individuals or foreigners.

To the extent that we think that the Wikileaks disclosures do harm our national interest, then I have no problem with our government seeking to prevent future disclosures or to make it more difficult for the existing disclosures to be accessed. If we think that another country intends to do us harm, we have the right to defend ourselves, so why should that be any different in the case of an individual? That said, I’m not sure that trying to kill Assange is the right approach…

What do you think? Write me a comment!


*And for those who keep saying that Julian Assange is a “traitor” or “anti-American”, please remember that he can’t be a traitor, because he isn’t American and that he has no obligation to be pro-American. We don’t have to like him or agree with him, but he’s not a traitor. And as to the suggestion (thanks, Sarah Palin, you blathering idiot!) that we should go after Assange the same way that we’ve gone after the Taliban and al-Quaeda, it shouldn’t even need to be mentioned that the act of intentionally murdering thousands of innocent civilians is vastly different from releasing documents. But then why should we expect people who make that assertion to understand the difference; after all, many of them are the same people who equate President Obama’s quest for universal health care with Hitler.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Use the Republicans’ Strategy of “No” Against Them

Let me get this right: Senate Republicans have pledged to filibuster everything in the Senate until the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans are extended (at the cost of $700,000,000). So no extension of unemployment benefits for 2 million unemployed Americans, no vote on the nuclear disarmament treaty (START), no vote on the DREAM Act, no vote on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and most importantly, no extension of tax cuts for the 98% of Americans who aren’t in that top 2%. Did I get that right?

Yes the Republicans won big in November. But we need to remember that they did not win in the Senate (thank you Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle!). More importantly, do we really think that the message that the American electorate sent in November was to stop all other business until a tax break is given to the rich? Was that what voters said? Somehow, I don’t think so. And I think polls agree with me.

So I’d suggest that Senate Democrats show a little spine and go on the offensive. Start bringing votes to the floor on issues that are important to Democrats and to Americans in general (other than that 2%…) and make the Republicans filibuster. And when I say make them filibuster, I mean make them stand in the well of the Senate chambers and read the phonebook or Glenn Beck or the Complete Works of Shakespeare. And make them keep reading 24/7. And start using some campaign funding to run ads showing Republicans filibustering extensions of unemployment insurance, filibustering nuclear safety (that Republican former Secretaries of State favor), and most importantly, filibustering tax cuts for the middle class.

Here’s the ad I’d like to see running in states across the country: “Our Senator, _____ [fill in the name of the applicable Republican Senator], had a chance to vote for nuclear safety.” [Clip of Senator saying “No”.] “He had a chance to vote to extend unemployment benefits for more than 2 million unemployed Americans.” [Clip of Senator saying “No”.] “And he had a chance to vote for an extension of tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000”. [Clip of Senator saying “No”.] “Our Senator won’t even allow votes on those issues until he gets a vote to extend tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans at a cost of $700,000,000. Tell our Senator that he is supposed to represent all Americans, not just his wealthy contributors.”

Democrats in the Senate need to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the American people that Senate Republicans don’t care about the American people at all; they care only about wealthy contributors and their (here’s my new buzzword phrase) corporate overlords.

And it wouldn’t hurt for President Obama to use the power of his office to call the Republicans out on their strategy of “no” — forcefully.


Bookmark and Share

Newer›  ‹Older